Nothing beats the quality of sightings on a placid ocean on a sunny day. Several types of behaviour can easily be observed under such conditions and, if the animals display interesting behaviour, encounters become absolutely spectacular. The large and dispersed group of Short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) were resting as we approached, with one larger female even seen nursing a little calf. This gentle nurturing was almost visible at the surface and the full glory and size of these enormous dolphins could easily be admired as they approached our boats and even as they dove in synchrony some ten metres below the surface. Within the pod, our team managed to spot a handful of Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) who seemed less interested in our boats and more preoccupied with whether the pilot whales would soon start their hunts for the squid again.
This lovely encounter was followed by a group of highly inquisitive Rough-toothed dolphins (Steno bredanensis) who immediately approached our bow and surfed the waves near our boat. These magnificent dolphins are notorious for their intelligence and their bizarre behaviour, which they put on full display as they drifted behind the Stenella, barrel-rolling and spy-hopping as our captain recorded their vocalisations and frolicking below the surface.
Apart from facilitating the perfect backdrop to such lovely sightings with cetaceans, conditions like these are also absolutely perfect for Loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) basking at the surface. Nothing beats a smooth ocean surface and cloudless sky when you’re catching some sun and our team managed to spot at least seven of these solitary sunbathers relaxing the surface! What a wonderful afternoon!
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
15:00 Bottlenose dolphins, Rough-toothed dolphins, Short-finned pilot whales, Loggerhead turtles